The holidays are officially here!  Woo-hoo!  Break out the cookie sheets and roll out the cake pans!  Um, someone else will do the dishes, right?

I like to enjoy my holiday time with everyone.  Yes, I do like to cook, but I do NOT want to be chained to the stove and be too exhausted to even eat when the time comes.  I do not want my kids to look back on  Thanksgiving as that great time of year they got to watch that nifty vein on Mommy’s head throb.  I would actually like to BE thankful for Thanksgiving!

A few years ago I wrote up a menu and shopping list including a time table for what needs to be done when.  It took some work at the time, but now all I have to do is pull it out and tweak it a bit for the current year.  If I follow my list, Thanksgiving puts itself together for the most part.

Of course, my kiddies help quite a bit also.  My son will be helping with the turkey this year and making brownie bites and pecan tartlets and my oldest daughter is the pie and salad girl.    My littlest lovey will be getting her fingers in wherever she can.

What we are having:

Mixed nuts (now that they are back in our life!)

Garlic stuffed olives

Baby dills

“Bread and butter” pickles

fruit bowl or veggie tray (brought by someone else)

A dead, clean, COOKED turkey (my daughter’s description)

Maple and brown sugar glazed ham



Green bean casserole

Mashed potatoes

Spinach salad

Cranberry relish

Roasted sweet potatoes (unless my sister makes a sweet potato thing she saw on TV)

Pumpkin pie

Brownie bites

Pecan tartlets

Cranberry juice and ginger ale

It is all gluten and dairy free.  Everybody has got to have their favorites.

I generally start part of the meal a couple of weeks ahead, but not this year.  So, tonight I will be doing the first bit: making bread for the stuffing.  I  take my regular bread recipe and to the batter add 1 t. garlic, 1 t. onion powder, 1 ½ t. basil or sage, 1 ½ t. dried dill weed or thyme, 1 ½ t. celery seed and 1 ½ T. dried parsley.  After that cools I will cube it and dry it.  I usually make a double batch because I like the second loaf for left over turkey sandwiches.  Yum!  Dried stuffing can be done up to 3 months in advance then frozen.  I am doing a combo bread and corn bread stuffing this year.  For the cornbread I am using The Sue Gregg Blender Cornbread that was put on the August 2, 2006 entry.  I am tossing the ingredients into the blender tonight and baking it up in the morning.  That also can be done way ahead and frozen.  Tonight while the stuffing bread is baking I will also be roasting garlic.